London - On December 12th 2018, the Palestinian Return Centre organised an event in the UK Parliament marking the seventieth year since the UN adopted resolution 194, which called on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. The event was hosted and chaired by Labour MP Ruth Cadbury.
First speaker Karma Nabulsi, a professor at Oxford University, discussed the right of return from a Palestinian perspective. She pointed out that when Palestinians speak about their return they are speaking about their inalienable rights, and regardless of time Palestinians will continue to remain one people. The descendants of refugees will also continue to demand their legitimate rights as they have done in the Gaza Strip with the Great March of Return.
Frances Webber, Vice-Chair of the Institute for Race Relation focused on the legal rights of refugees, connecting their struggle to that of migrants around the world. According to Webber: "If settler colonialism drove the Palestinians out of their homeland, the major factor driving forced migration today is globalisation." She emphasised that the right of return is intrinsic to the right to have a home. If a refugee is not being able to return home, they should at the minimum have a right to have a home in the host country.
H.E Mr Cheikh Niang, who is a representative of Senegal to the UN and Chair of the UN committee on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. He noted that the Palestinian issue has always been key item of concern in the UN Agenda. Mr Niang discussed the continued need of UN assistance to the Palestinian people and the possibility, through the committee that he chairs and UN resolutions, to support the cause of Palestinian refugees and bring to an end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.